Three Popes visit Grotto where St. Paul lived after being shipwrecked in Malta

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St. Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked during his journey from Crete to Rome in the year 60 AD.

Archpriest of St. Paul's Church
On his way to Rome, there was a very big storm. In a way that threw the ship to this island an he was shipwreck here. The people from the island welcomed him very much indeed, very well.

It was the island of Malta. And here, in this grotto located on the outskirts of the ancient capital, Mdina, is where tradition says he lived for three months. 

The Acts of the Apostles describes how St. Paul was welcomed by local inhabitants and the Roman prefect, named Publius. According to tradition, Publius converted to Christianity, served as a bishop and is counted among the first Maltese saints. For this reason, the church that sits above the grotto was dedicated to St. Publius.

Archpriest of St. Paul's Church
In this place, that is why the place is so significant, Paul healed the sick of the island, as we find in the Acts of the Apostles. He cured the father of the prefect of the island, Publius. But also the sick people of the island. He announced the Gospel in the island for the first time. This is why Paul is always with the book, the Gospel in his hands.

Spanish hermit Juan Benegas de Córdova acquired the land above the grotto in the early 17th century and spread devotion to St. Paul. He later donated the grotto to the Hospitaller Order of St. John, also known as the Order of Malta, who built the church above the grotto.

Since then, news of the grotto has spread throughout the Christian world. Here, they remember the visit of the famous Admiral Nelson, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1800.

Archpriest of St. Paul's Church
At the same time, many people come to this grotto from all over the world. Many pilgrimages, many groups. They come here as a tourist, to see. It is a very simple grotto. There is nothing to be astonishment. It is a very simple place because we try to keep it at it was, as much as it was.

Among other illustrious visitors to the Grotto are St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who came to the grotto to pray. This weekend, Pope Francis will add his name to the list of famous pilgrims.



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